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I have to wonder what caused my grandfather to start using an alias. At first I thought it was because he had abandoned an second family but yet I found his draft registration and it was in his alias.  Address and birth date matches my grandfather so I know it was him. This was before he married his second wife. He used this alias for the rest of his life so what was he running from? 

I know life was hard for him and his family.  Seems like his father held many jobs during his lifetime.  At the age of 12 my grandfather is listed on the census as being a pie hawker.  It was explained to me that meant he stood on the streets selling pies.  I cannot imagine standing outside in the CT winters selling pies on the street.  We do not realize how easy we have life until we look back at how our ancestors lived.  I can see me now telling my 12 yr old to go sell pies on the street. Yea right. Not happening.

My grandfather's past is such a mystery to me that I cannot get past his father and mother. So maybe they are also a mystery.  Every single document has my great grandmother listed as Minnie.  I am putting money on that being a nickname but on census it states neither of my great grandparents could read or write. Yet they gave my grand uncle a set of encyclopedias so could they read and write and a lazy census worker just marked what they wanted to or did they not understand them.

I know my great grandmother list her father as being born in Germany so did she speak with an accent and was misunderstood?  They say my great grandfather had a terrible speech impediment from being kicked by  a horse.  So was he hard to understand?

The reason for thinking this  is because my great grandmother is listed as Minnie Bertz on her marriage records in 1888. But she does not exist anywhere until then. Her mother is listed as Mariah and her father as Eugene Bertz.   On the marriage record they wrote Mariah last name was illegible. On her death record her mother is listed as Deborah Stowe. Was this correct or did my great grandfather day Mariah and they though he was saying Deborah?  Either way the only  Person with either name I have ever found a record for in their area was Gayle Deborah Stowe and she did not marry a Bertz.  

The only Eugene Bertz I have found born in Germany living in the US was married to a Jessie Dixon in Kansas. Did Minnie's mother die? were they divorced?  I think this is the same Eugene because he is buried in a National cemetery and listed as serving in CT Infantry.

Now on to Wesley's parents. Heavens to Betsy. How can it be so hard to find anyone?  I finally got a death certificate for him from NY after years and years and years of them telling me that they had no record. I sent them copies of the newspaper articles with the app showing when and where he died in an accident along with his obituary from the newspaper.  On every single document his name is listed as Wesley R Russell. On his death certificate they gave me his  middle name. Rueben.   OK still no records for him until he married in 1888.  How can two people go through life and not show up for 20 years on census.  Neither one of them do.

Once they married they are on every single census up until death.  Wesley list his parents as Balis Russell and Laura Barrett of Putnam County NY.  Well I found a Laura married to a John B Russell. Is this the correct one?  Funny thing is they are never listed with Wesley as their child or his brother Charles. I have court documents from CT where Wesley applied for administrator his brother Charles estate after his death.  Yet Wesley and Charles never show on any census together as brothers, cousins, neighbors, anything.

Funny thing is there are so many Wesley Russell's in Danbury CT that I have a hard time determining which one is him unless he is with Minnie and the children.  

I would give anything to find someone else searching this same family line but it just doesnt seem like it will happen in my lifetime.

And we are not even going to discuss my paternal grand mothers line yet. Oh my goodness. What a nightmare.

I guess when this family wanted to hide skeletons they did the best job of anyone who ever came to the US because they just cant be found. Shame is I have a strong feeling that there are others who know this family history but because they were lower end folks they just want to sweep them under the rug. I could care less if they lived in a cardboard box under a bridge, If they killed all their kids in their sleep, if they were brother and sister living as husband and wife. Or what ever the deep dark family secret is I just want to know who we are and where we came from.

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